Let’s talk fitness again!
In my last post, I shared with you that I am writing a series of fitness blogs for runners I coach. I love sharing these with you because I know your health and well being is an important part of who you are. This time, I focused on the power of cross training. Although it is directed at runners, I think it’s good stuff to share. I would love to hear what you have to say so leave me a comment below!
When you hear the words cross training, what do you think of? Most runners would probably think that cross training will help with injury prevention, which is absolutely true. But there are many other reasons why cross training is so important while you are conditioning for your race. Here are my top 5 reasons why I love to see runners cross train:
- INJURY PREVENTION. Overuse injuries are typical among runners. When you are out there pounding the pavement over and over, you are using the same muscles, repeating the same motion and posture, and sometimes not giving your body enough recovery time. By adding in some strength training and different types of cardio into your training plan, you are enhancing your performance. Hopping on an elliptical gives your ankles a break. Doing some core work will help strengthen your back and abdominals to improve posture. Lifting weights can help improve muscle imbalance. It doesn’t need to be intense, but 20 minutes a couple times a week can really help.
- SPICE IT UP! Incorporating different types of exercise will prevent the dreaded burn out that we can feel when we are doing the same thing over and over again. How exciting would it be to go for a swim in the lake or take a fitness class? Plus, you are learning new skills which is exercising the brain as well.
- BALANCE. When you incorporate different exercises, you will have a better muscular balance. We want to make sure that all of our muscle groups are getting attention. An overdeveloped set of muscles can lead to injury since the stronger parts of your body will be overcompensating for the weaker parts.
- RECOVERY. When you are unable to run due to injury, there are many non-impact forms of exercise that will allow you to keep your cardio fitness strong. Replacing a run with a bike ride during recovery for example, will allow you to get back on the road more swiftly and efficiently.
- RUN FASTER. Another benefit of strength training with added jumping drills and plyometrics, is increased power. When you translate that power into stride power, it means greater length in your stride, less pavement time, and an overall faster time.
Changing things up with your workouts doesn’t mean you have to dedicate a lot more time to your training. Again, adding on 20 minutes of strength training to a shorter run or replacing your lowest mileage run for a bootcamp workout will only enhance your running performance. It keeps you feeling balanced, refreshed, and stronger mentally and physically.
PS Questions are always welcome!